Bubble formation in a quiescent pool of gold nanoparticle suspension

Saeid Vafaei, Dongsheng Wen

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


This paper begins with an extensive review of the formation of gas bubbles, with a particular focus on the dynamics of triple lines, in a pure liquid and progresses into an experimental study of bubble formation on a micrometer-sized nozzle immersed in a quiescent pool of aqueous gold nanofluid. Unlike previous studies of triple line dynamics in a nanofluid under evaporation or boiling conditions, which are mainly caused by the solid surface modification due to particle sedimentation, this work focuses on the roles of nanoparticles suspended in the liquid phase. The experiments are conducted under a wide range of flow rates and nanoparticle concentrations, and many interesting phenomena are revealed. It is observed that nanofluids prevent the spreading of the triple line during bubble formation, i.e. the triple line is pinned somewhere around the middle of the tube wall during the rapid bubble formation stage whereas it spreads to the outer edge of the tube for pure water. A unique 'stick-slip' movement of the triple line is also observed for bubbles forming in nanofluids. At a given bubble volume, the radius of the contact line is found to be smaller for higher particle concentrations, but a reverse trend is found for the dynamic bubble contact angle. With the increase of particle concentration, the bubble frequency is raised and the bubble departure volume is decreased. The bubble shape is found to be in a good agreement with the prediction from Young-Laplace equation for given flow rates. The influence of nanoparticles on other detailed characteristics related to bubble growth inside, including the variation of bubble volume expansion rate, the radius of the curvature at the apex, the bubble height and bubble volume, is revealed. It is suggested that the variation of surface tensions and the resultant force balance at the triple line might be responsible for the modified dynamics of the triple line.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)72-93
Number of pages22
JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - 11 Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Boiling
  • Bubble formation
  • Contact angle
  • Critical heat flux
  • Gold nanoparticles
  • Nanofluids
  • Solid surface tensions
  • Surface wettability
  • Triple line


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